From its Leica-branded smartphone cameras to smart sunglasses made in collaboration with South Korean eyewear maker Gentle Monster, Huawei has a history of partnering with established brands for consumer products, especially if it’s one that’s relatively new in the Chinese tech giant’s portfolio.
The latest such collaborative product is the Huawei Sound Joy, a water-proof, lightweight, bass-heavy portable speaker made in collaboration with French audio equipment maker Devialet.
Huawei’s consumer products usually aim for minimalism, but the Sound Joy goes the other way, in that it places practicality and usability above all else. The speaker is wrapped mostly in soft-to-the-touch woven fabric, and has a circumference roughly the same as a water bottle. The latter is on purpose, as the Sound Joy can fit into the bottle holder of cars and bicycles. There are giant volume buttons on one side and five control buttons on the other side.
The large buttons are welcomed, as fiddling with audio controls while cycling is not ideal. At the top and bottom of the Sound Joy is Devialet’s two-way speaker system that uses Devialet’s “SAM” (speaker active matching) technology, which aligns the signal and acoustic output pressure.
The fabric covers a 20W speaker inside a carbon-fiber diaphragm and a 10W tweeter, while the top and bottom two-way speaker system includes passive radiators that actually move and thump along with music. They look cool, but actually bring real use, too: they help enhance low frequency sensitivity.
I’m no audiophile, but I test a lot of tech gadgets including portable speakers, laptops and headphones, and I can say the audio that comes out of the Sound Joy are among the best. Audio is full, there’s enough range to cover high pitch frequencies, mids, and also the thumping kicks of bass-heavy hip hop tracks.
You can pair the Sound Joy with Huawei’s AI Life app, available on Google and Huawei’s app store. There is no version of this app in Apple’s walled garden so iPhone users are out of luck. But they’re also not missing out on much, while Huawei’s AI Life app is useful for Huawei’s wireless earbuds and smartwatches, it doesn’t offer many features for the Sound Joy. There’s no equalizer option, for example. You mostly use the app to control the LED ring at the top of the speaker, which is purely for aesthetics.
Once you pair your smartphone to the Sound Joy (which can be done without the app) you can also take phone calls with the speakers, and there’s a physical button on the speaker to access digital voice assistant. This worked with Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant, too.
Battery life on the Sound Joy is excellent as is usually the case for Huawei devices: you get 26 hours on a single charge, and the speaker is charged via USB-C. As mentioned, the Sound Joy is rated IP67 for water and dust resistance, so you can take this speaker into the showers or the pool without issues.
Priced between the equivalent of $170 in Europe and Asia, the Huawei Sound Joy can be considered either pricey or affordable, depending on your viewpoint. There are surely cheaper portable speakers out there, but those usually lack water resistance and have inferior sound quality. And if you compare the Huawei Sound Joy to other Devialet or other “big name” portable speakers, then $170 can be considered appealing. It depends on perspective—and your ears.